Tuesday, September 05, 2006

stage 4 --- lanslebourg to Seez , the big one

On this trip im pretty much abiding by these 4 food groups:

Yeast products (bread and beer)
cheese
chocolate
pasta

its going well with these foods, they are not letting me down on the bike.

Made sure to refill plenty at the hostel breakfast and took some extra nutella for the road.

Now on the map this stage would be the biggest climb with the col d'Iseran towering at 2764m. I think lanslebourg was sitting at 1500m was there was about 4000ft of climbing in store today.

this day was the first day where my legs felt heavy, though once on the bike and riding they came to life. It was a gradual climb from lanslebourg along D902 to bossons where a little detour was made due to road work. Then the tour entered into Voisine national park filled with beautifull glaciers and ridiculous amounts of grasshoppers. The climb picked up about 15k in at Bonneval sur-Arc, where i apparently rolled thru some sort of model shoot happening on the roadside flowers. either way i wasn^'t complaining about the girls.

took a mid morning break at la pertette which was in a litte gully that overlooked a massive glacier. the snack was spiced bread with nutella, classic french cuisine!

The climb starting getting real hard after that as i made my way past the snowline. no sleet this time though only bright sun. The lungs started to get tired and i had to back off near the top. all in all the top of the col was over 8500ft above sea level and it was a pretty spectacular feeling of accomplishment when i got there.

The descent of the col was basically right on the ski slopes of val d'isere where they hold world cup ski races. it was here i really learned how to take the switch backs at high speed and just feather the brakes. When you a hit a corner at 35 and hold that line thru the apex the feeling and g-force on a bike is quite nice. some of the corners were banked as well which added another twist.

down in val d'isere it was quite richy and filled with tourists. i only stopped to looked at the ski lodge and then kept going. couldnt have lunch there cause everything was shut from 1300-1500h.

From Val d'isere it was a gradual downhill thru tignes ski area and over La barrage de tignes, quite an engineering feat.

There were many tunnels on this part of the tour, long too. some as long as 1500m and there wasnt any lighting really. so you basically trust the road and hope there arent any potholes. however i was freaked of these tunnels so when i got in one i would just hammer the pedals hoping i didnt encounter a car. see when i car entered the tunnel you could hear it but you didnt know from which direction it was coming until the lights came into view. im glad those are over with.

the temperature heated up as i descended more and more and the vegetation became more back to normal. i reached seez where i would stay at another hostel.

i rode around the village a bit and into the larger village called bourg st-maurice to have a look as i was too early to check in at 17h.

i thing that is painfull here is dinner isnt served until 730 and by that time my stomach is starting to digest its own walls. anyways tonight dinner was even later, not till 8. partly because at the bar the chef had joined me and the other guests which were mostly kyakers for drinks.

the chef at this place was an indenticle mould of a typical french chef with the big moustache, bald and round. anyways, as where drinkin his sticks his hand down the back of his pants and scratches his ass....dinner had some extra flavour that night. The cheese platter was out of this world though.

tomorrow is the tours final day and the last climb.

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